Monday, February 24, 2014

Steam Engine Restoration Part 4 - Base Sandblasting and Paint

The base of the engine was the next component to be addressed. I disassembled the parts and removed the poured babbitt bearings from the bearing block. Then, once it was fully sandblasted, I rinsed it with hot soapy water, primed it, and painted it to match the frame.
The base before restoration

Removing the flywheel with a gear puller

Babbitt bearing removed

Stripped and ready for sandblasting

Test Fit


Taped off

Rusty Metal Primer

Masked off again


Loosely Assembled

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Steam Engine Restoration Part 3 - Frame Sandblasting and Paint

The next step of the restoration process was to strip, sandblast, and repaint the main frame of the engine. This part serves several functions for the engine, including the main structure, support for the valve gear, and support for the cylinder crosshead. It must be carefully cleaned, while making sure that the sliding-contact surfaces stay smooth and paint-free.

Removing the Fiber Packing

The sliding surface for the crosshead. After sandblasting, this will need to be polished eventually.

Sandblasted and rinsed

Slight rust from washing. This is why I use rusty metal primer, even after sandblasting.

Taped off and ready for paint


Painted. Rustoleum Hunter Green for the frame and base.

Loosely Assembled

Freshly tapping the holes for the valve support

Fresh Condensation Valve installed. Before the engine warms up, steam will tend to condense at the bottom of the cylinder. This is incompressable and could damage the cylinder, so the engine is run with this partially open until the condensed water blows out.

Test Fit on the unrestored base

Friday, February 14, 2014

Steam Engine Restoration Part 2 - Cylinder Sandblasting and Paint

The running gear of this engine, consisting of the crankshaft, connecting rod, crosshead, and piston, are all in poor shape and are particularly difficult to disassemble, so for the time being I sprayed them down with penetrating oil and will come back to them later. The first order of business was to strip the major structural components down and sandblast them, then loosely reassemble them.

I prefer to rebuild the large parts of my projects first and reassemble them, so I have a solid framework to install the smaller components into as I finish them. Its less time consuming then filling boxes with parts before reassembly, and helps me keep everything organized. The first part to clean was the cylinder. This will require homing and further fine machine work, but for now I simply sandblasted the exterior and painted it.

Masked for Sandblasting

Cleaned up. The damaged casting lug was bypassed by placing an extra nut behind it

Cleaned and ready for paint

Progress. Will require final machining later.

The next step was the cylinder head, valve chest, and studs. These were individually sandblasted, masked off, and painted with High-Temp gloss black.